Ross is a General in the Air Force who is in charge of Bruce Banner's gamma bomb project. His daughter, Betty, takes a liking to the young scientist, a fact which only enhances the dislike the rough Ross has for the "weakling" scientist Banner. After Banner's transformation into the Hulk, Ross spends years chasing the monster, becoming obsessed enough with it to commit treason by allying himself with the Leader, M.O.D.O.K., and the Abomination in order to destroy the Hulk. Dishonorably discharged, he shows up at Betty and Bruce's wedding with a gun, and shoots Rick Jones. He is recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Clay Quartermain to merge with the electric creature Zzzax, a process that gives Ross superpowers, but also makes him mentally unstable. He is later restored to human form but retains some residual energy-generating powers.
Finally, a mutant who drains people of their life energy attacks Gamma Base in search for a strong host, in this case the Hulk. After witnessing Rick Jones (who was the Hulk at that time) and Banner heroically engaging the mutant, Ross, realizing that he has been wrong about the Hulk being a mindless monster, saves his daughter from being slain by allowing the mutant to latch onto him, and discharging the energy resources he retained from Zzzax. Giving his blessing to Bruce and Betty, he dies in his daughter's arms.
Ross' body is later stolen by the Leader, who uses the powers of one of his followers to resurrect Ross. He turns him into a mindless replacement for his fallen soldier Redeemer. Ross is eventually recovered and revived by agents of the alien Troyjan, and returns to the Air Force. He would later come up with a more cost-effective method of confronting the Hulk when he is in his childlike stage: active non-resistance. He and his men simply do not fire on or engage the Hulk in any way. The Hulk, confused, does not smash and leaps away.
Ross would make friends with Banner, but when Betty is seemingly killed due to what both Ross and Banner believed to have been Banner's gamma-irradiated DNA interacting with hers, he once more pursues the Hulk with a vendetta.
Around this time, General Ryker takes over the pursuit of the Hulk. Ross is indirectly involved, observing when Ryker mentally tortures Banner to try to figure out how the Hulk works. The Hulk escapes from Ryker's control and after several adventures, is lost in space.
After the Hulk returned from exile and initiated World War Hulk, General Ross made his return. It was revealed that Ross and Doc Samson had a hand in the creation of the Red Hulk, assisted by A.I.M. and the Intelligencia. The true extent, revealed during the Intelligencia's invasion of Washington, D.C., was that Ross had become the Red Hulk to further his vengeance against Banner and as part of a promise made by the Intelligencia to revive the then-thought deceased Betty.
First officially seen crossing the Canadian wilderness, the Red Hulk was attacked by a Wendigo, which he ended up killing. The government detected the Red Hulk in the Bering Strait when a satellite detected the seismic activity of the Hulk landing on the ground. In Dimitri, Russia, the Red Hulk murdered the Abomination. Ross was one of many experts called to investigate the appearance of the Red Hulk. He reluctantly called on the expertise of Bruce Banner who came up with a report but not before the Red Hulk reached the base.
In New York, the Red Hulk attacked Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Tony Stark's newly commissioned Helicarrier causing it to crash land and then be destroyed. While there Red Hulk erased all files on the Hulk, using a sophisticated computer virus. After this attack Red Hulk headed to Gamma Base in Death Valley, Nevada where he squared off against A-Bomb before having to face android Harpies, and the original Hulk.
Red Hulk even punched Uatu in the face for trying to watch their battle. Some of Doc Samson's clothing was found with dramatically increased radiation, so it was possible that he was Red Hulk, which was concluded as incorrect. After fighting and defeating, Hulk he was on top of a bridge claiming to be the strongest there is and was interrupted by Thor. However, Thor found himself surprised and Red Hulk managed to gain the upper hand, leaving Thor defeated on the moon. Returning to Earth, Red Hulk went on to cause an earthquake in San Fransisco which was being dealt with by Hulk, She-Hulk, A-Bomb, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men. Thor then returns, stating his anger, and promptly defeats Red Hulk in a few moments. Thor was about to slay him, but was stopped by A-Bomb, who said Hulk must be the one who defeats Red Hulk. The Savage Hulk and Red Hulk then engage in combat, and it seems that the Red Hulk was gaining the upper hand, but then the Red Hulk overheated, suddenly becoming very dizzy. This allowed Hulk to defeat Red Hulk. Following Red Hulk's defeat, an LMD of Ross employed by the Intelligencia visited the Red Hulk and told him that they were abandoning him.
She-Hulk later gathered Thundra and Valkyrie for a new team of Lady Liberators in an effort to apprehend the Red Hulk near Mount Rushmore, accidentally destroying the sculpture of Lincoln's face. After seemingly defeating him, most of the group left, and Red Hulk revealed he had played possum, and took Thundra forging a partnership with her.
To settle a bet with the Grandmaster, the Collector teamed up Red Hulk with Tiger Shark, Baron Mordo, and Terrax against Hulk, Namor, Doctor Strange, and Silver Surfer. Eager for revenge on his counterpart, Red Hulk agreed to take part in the fight, dubbing his team "The Offenders". He killed everyone and then went after Galactus. When Red Hulk came to Galactus, he tried to attack him, but Galactus was merely insulted by his blasphemy and took away the Power Cosmic from him. He then sent Red Hulk back and threatened to retaliate by destroying the Earth next. Tired of taking orders from Grandmaster, Ross killed him. Before he died he brings the Defenders back to life and the Defenders confronted Red Hulk. Red Hulk decided to show the Hulk the dead body of Jarella, breaking the Hulk's heart which gave the Red Hulk great satisfaction.
Afterward Banner was somehow captured by AIM, and was detained underneath Gamma Base to be used to create a Gamma irradiated super soldier program behind Red Hulk, headed by MODOK and backed by General Ross. The plot was uncovered by She-Hulk, who was informed by a short haired Doc Sampson. Jennifer recruited reporter Ben Urich to help uncover the truth, who in turn recruited Peter Parker to aid in photography. As they infiltrated the underground base, Sampson revealed he was brainwashed by MODOK and revealed a long haired alter ego, who assaulted She-Hulk and alerted AIM and Red Hulk to their presence, fortunately Spider-Man appeared and began to fight him.
The battle soon interrupted the tank containing Banner, causing him to transform into the Hulk. The Hulk attacked his doppelganger with the aid of Spider-Man. As the battle escalated, the Hulk body slammed his enemy into a Gamma generator in the base. Tired of their endless battles, the Red Hulk totally absorbed the radiation that powered the Hulk. As the base reached critical mass the defenseless Bruce Banner was rescued by a now intelligent A-Bomb. Red Hulk managed to catch up to Ben Urich and warned him that if one word saw print, he would kill everyone at the Front Line in one murderous rampage.
After finding out that Domino had witnessed Red Hulk transforming from his human form, General Thunderbolt Ross and Doc Samson gave the Red Hulk his team of mercenaries dubbed "Code Red" (consisting of Punisher, Deadpool, Thundra, Elektra, and Crimson Dynamo XII) to hunt her down within 24 Hours. When Red Hulk ended up blinded by Wolverine, he was rescued by the Red She-Hulk who was wearing a ripped version of Domino's outfit and wielding Elektra's sais. Red Hulk then fought Red She-Hulk when she double-crossed him. Taking the battle up to a roof, Red She-Hulk then managed to throw Red Hulk off the roof, postponing the battle.
The Ross LMD later confronted Red Hulk whilst wearing Redeemer armor, and was subsequently destroyed, an effort by Banner and Red Hulk to remove the face of the Intelligencia's planned takeover of America. it was later revealed that Red Hulk apparently kills General Ross at the behest of Bruce Banner, with whom he has formed an alliance.
Red Hulk made an apparent meeting with General Ross that concluded with the General's death (later revealed to be a ruse) when he showed up in the Redeemer armor, intending to kill the red giant. After the memorial service, Red Hulk met with his new ally who appeared to have orchestrated Ross' death all along, Bruce Banner. However, when the new Frightful Four attacked the Fantastic Four in the Baxter Building, Red Hulk came to their rescue. He managed to save everyone inside even though Mister Fantastic was kidnapped. He later goes out to help the X-men but fails at that also. After that he went to the Intelligencia's base and attempted to stop them. He failed when he was defeated by Hulkpool and the Hulked Out Heroes. During this battle, Ross found himself facing off with Red She-Hulk, where, when reverted to human form, he revealed to be Ross to those present, with Red She-Hulk quickly being revealed as his daughter Betty.
After draining the Leader of his powers Ross destroyed the LMD of Talbot and, mad with power, took over the White House, leading into a confrontation with his old enemy, the true Incredible Hulk. Ross grappled with Banner and attacked him with the force of a Nuclear explosion, but the battle ended when the Hulk knocked Ross out with a thunderclap.
After his defeat at the hands of the Hulk, Ross was imprisoned in Gamma Base. Steve Rogers, who had succeeded Norman Osborn after his failed Siege of Asgard, managed to recruit Ross once his sanity returned. Banner told Ross that they had removed his energy draining ability after discovering that it was killing him. He was released to aid against the Intelligencia's contingency plan; Scorched Earth. During this he discovered that he still possessed his absorption ability, though Banner insisted he had not been lying when he said that it was killing Ross; in truth, it burned out his ability to transform back into his human form, and now he can only remain as the Red Hulk. Ross assisted the Avengers in their fight against the Hood, who was hunting for the Infinity Gems. Ross himself wound up wielding the Power Gem for a time. Afterwords, Rogers invited him to join the Avengers. His teammates neither trusted him nor knew his identity, but their faith in Rogers was enough for his membership to be uncontested.
After Ross had stopped Scorched Earth, a new threat emerged: M.O.D.O.K. Superior, a clone of the original designed to be free of any disadvantaging human traits the original might have had. Meanwhile, the Red Hulk was introduced to the Life Model Decoy staff of Gamma Base, particularly Annie.
Ross found himself assaulted by General Fortean, his former protege who had started to hunt the Red Hulk out of the belief that he had killed Ross. Ross was horrified, seeing his friend going down the same destructive path that he had gone down years ago. He attempted to reveal his identity to Fortean but failed. It was then that Fortean injected him with nanites.
These nanites allowed Fortean not only to track the Red Hulk, but could detect when he shifted into his human form. Upon detecting the transformation, the nanites would administer a lethal shock to Ross, killing him. This forced Ross to stay awake, as he often reverted to his human form while asleep. He then was assaulted Zero/One and her new ally Black Fog. Zero/One had been present at the site of Red Hulk's first deployment with Steve Rogers, and was transformed due to his actions. Now a machine hybrid, Zero/One viewed the Red Hulk as the main obstacle to her ambitions. She created Black Fog to deal with him.
Meanwhile, the Watcher Uatu watched the planet destroyer named Omegex emerged in deep space. Omegex detected the traces of Red Hulk's energy signal on Uatu from the punch he had received and tracked this signature to Earth. At the same time, the Red Hulk had been sent into space to deal with a threat. As such, Omegex did not attack Earth. Ross found himself sent through a wormhole, to the planets Tiran and Randaa.
Landing on Tiran, Ross found himself imprisoned and forced in gladiatorial service. Recognizing the parallel to Banner's similar experience, Ross formed an alliance with a doctor in the Tiranean king's service. He killed the King Warka, and was surprised to find this made him the new king. This almost gave him rights to the royal wives, which he appeared to indulge. When the natives of Randaa attacked, Ross organized a counterattack and gained control of their government too. He left the planets, hoping the lack of kings would allow the natives to find peace. Traveling back through the wormhole, he found the remains of his disintegrating, and the Watcher Uravo told him it had been an illusion designed to delay Omegex. However, Ross insisted it had really happened.
While tracking energy anomalies, Ross came across a creature he knew well: Zzzax. The energy being had been upgraded by M.O.D.O.K. Superior, who revealed himself to Ross. M.O.D.O.K. has captured Annie, and Ross fought bravely to save her. He turned Zzzax against his master using the old control techniques. M.O.D.O.K. retreated with Zzzax, and Annie was rescued unharmed.
When the Serpent was freed by Skadi, he began a world-wide assault on Midgard. One of his most powerful tools was the Worthy, citizens of Midgard transformed by mystical hammers into hosts of the Serpent's greatest servants. Amongst those transformed was the Thing, who became Angrir, Breaker of Souls.
Angrir assaulted Avengers Tower. As the Avengers were deployed worldwide, only one remained to defend the tower; the Red Hulk. Though he ultimately failed and the Tower was destroyed, his brave fight against Angrir earned him great respect. Wolverine in particular believe this 'proved' his Avenger status.
After the Serpent's invasion, Ross and Annie made their way to the former's childhood home in New Hampshire. Whilst investigating, Omegex finally found Ross and attacked him. The fight quickly carried across state lines to Boston. Despite Ross' best efforts, he could gain no edge against Omegex. His life was spared by the surprising intervention of Black Fog.
Annie, meanwhile, had been mysteriously spared by Omegex. The Watcher named Uravo revealed herself to Annie and took her to Boston. She revealed that Omegex considered the Red Hulk a unique life-form and as such it would not aim to destroy Earth. However, General Fortean entered the fight and endangered the rest of the populace. Zero/One, who no longer wished to kill Red Hulk, introduced herself to Uravo and Annie and at the latter's urging took Ross out of the fight. Hoping to understand Ross, she view events from his life.
At Ross' urging he was returned to the fight. Attempting to absorb the Omegex's energies, Ross instead found himself disabled. Zero/One took him through another trip through his past but failed to find anything that convinced her of humanity's usefulness. Deactivating the nano-mines Fortean had planted in his brain, Zero/One let Ross return a final time to the fight. Assuming death awaited him, Ross made Uravo promise to keep Annie safe from Omegex. Uatu arrived to observe the event. Thaddeus Ross reverted to his human form, intending to die a human man; instead, Omegex dissipated.
Uatu explained that the transformation made the Red Hulk's energy signature vanish, convincing Omegex that his target had perished. His task completed, he returned to where he came from. This had been Uatu's plan all along, and by exploiting loopholes he had broken none of the Watchers' non-invention rules. Though this failed to convince Zero/One of humanity's value, it allowed her assistant, Jacob, to deliver a journal on Zero/One to Annie. Ross, overjoyed, embraced Annie happily.
After a fight with Fortean, Ross returned to the camp he had with Annie. Sorting through Fortean's transmissions Ross discovered the death of Will Krugauer, an old friend who had left the military to work with the private security group Skytower. Krugauer had been killed fighting in the Middle East. Enraged, Ross charged right into the war-torn region where he had died; an area of Qatar which was in the midst of a revolution. There Ross discovered that the rebels had super-advanced tech. The Secret Avengers arrived, intending to take Ross home to avoid an incident. Ross resisted and they clashed in a fight. During the fight the one known as Arabian Knight entered the fray. Steve Rogers appeared and ended the conflict. The Arabian Knight revealed that the source of the weapons was the arms-dealer and separatist Dagan Shah. Ross was assigned Machine Man as a partner and was allowed to infiltrate Sharzhad, Shah's domain. They were soon attacked by what appeared to be the mystical manticore.
Red Hulk and Machine Man dispatched the manticore, but it poisoned Ross, forcing him to revert to human form to heal. Ross and Machine Man briefly discussed Dr. Abel Stack, before hitting an invisible force wall. Machine Man removed the illusion cast on the wall, allowing Ross to see beyond it. He behold a flourishing and beautiful city. Sharzhad had been terraformed.
The Arabian Knight arrived and guided into into Sharzhad. He revealed himself as Dagan Shah, the Sultan Magus, and began to encapsulate Ross and Machine Man in crystalline structures as he had done to the real Arabian Knight. After Shah left to negotiate Sharzhad's status with the Arab League, Machine Man was able to free Ross and himself. Machine Man detected a power source below them, and so Ross broke the floor open.
As they fell, Ross questioned Machine Man on the minds of androids; particularly, if they could dream or not. They reached an otherworldly complex, a portal to a microcosm of another cosmos. An AI system revealed the origins of the Sultan Magus' powers. A failed Rigellian colonization attempt left a great source of power dormant on Earth. This power was transferred to Shah, transforming him and giving him an understanding of Rigellian technology. Ross determined that Dagan Shah was worth taking out just as the Sultan Magus himself arrive.
Shah easily overpowered Ross and sent him spirally toward a portal to Rigellian space. He was only saved by the timely intervention of Machine Man. Shah once again gained the upper hand but was interrupted by Arabian Knight, who proceeded to cut off Shah's arms. As he reattached them Machine Man was able to engineer an escape from the inner sanctum.
While Red Hulk and the Sultan Magus, General Fortean arrived. He revealed that Sharzhad had been formally recognized as an independent nation. The Sultan Magus taunted the Red Hulk before forcing him out of his country.
Captain America ordered Ross to track down Venom, who was fugitive. At Las Vegas, both fought until Blackheart, the son of Mephisto, managed to bring part of Hell to Earth.
Red Hulk then made an alliance with Venom, X-23 (who was there seeking vengeance on whoever had stolen her blood) and Ghost Rider (who noticed the presence of Blackheart). They each fought their Anthitheses until they were finally killed. Ross was killed by The Evangelist. In Hell, Mephisto offered the heroes a new chance to live in exchange of defeating Blackheart. They managed to get the Spirit of Vengenace, which had been trapped by Blackheart, and wanted to get it to Blaze, so he would become Ghost Rider again. During the battle, Red Hulk and Venom were thrown away by Blackheart, Flash gave the symbiote to Red Hulk and it bonded with him as well as the Spirit, thus becoming the new Ghost Rider.
Blackheart was defeated when Ghost Rider used a mirror which creates Antithesis, being defeated by his. Meanwhile, Flash and X-23 were trying to help Johnny Blaze to return Hell from the dimensional portal and destroy it. When Las Vegas returned to normal, Red Hulk returned the symbiote to Flash and the Spirit of Vengeance to Alejandra. When the Secret Avengers arrived, Red Hulk convinced Cap to make him trust Flash to control the symbiote. However, Hellstorm noted a mark and seemingly only he could see on the chest of Red Hulk, Venom and X-23.
Clash with the Eternals
While fighting a genetically engineered Hydra created by Zero/One, Rulk was being watched by the Eternals to know what to make of him, a heroic being or an enemy. After the battle was over, Sersi who was on site asked about what was going on, however, Red Hulk could see she was not a human and thought she was a spy sent by Zero/one. Sersi assured him she was not and as he was letting her hand go he was attacked by Ikaris who believed he was attacking Sersi. After a short battle that was stopped by the volcano activating the Eternals returned to their city after being summoned by Zuras who now seemed view to the Red Hulk as an enemy.